Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Coffee, bananas....and one amazing school

Today was surreal in so many ways. It started bright and early on a loooong drive away from Poços into a rural area in the mountains. The paved road quickly gave way to a rutted dirt trail, and I gripped my seat as our little Fiat puttered precariously around steep curves, tempting head on collisions with trucks barreling down the mountain. My fears soon turned to awe when the landscape suddenly turned into banana trees and coffee plantations. It was stunning. Think of the lush, green tropical wildness of a country like Costa Rica combined with the sprawling olive groves and vineyards of a place like Tuscany, Italy. Beautiful.

The most beautiful part? The tiny village school perched at the tippy top of the dirt road. The nine or so classrooms surrounded an open air square where students with guitars were gathered in a semi circle to greet us. They sang and strummed while I tried to process where I was and how lucky I was to be in that very moment.

In surreal moments like this, tears are inevitable. When we entered the second grade room, the students cheerily sang out "bom dia!" and waved their hands at us until I thought they might fly off their bodies. They showed us their artwork and the fable they were reading, and when it was time for a picture, their endearing, youthful smiles brought clarity to the moment. Our youth is our future, and here I was hugging our future on a mountain top in a remote village in Brazil.

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